What Are Never Events In Medical Malpractice Cases?
What would you do if a person you were supposed to trust with your health caused you significant amounts of harm? Would you know what to do to hold that person accountable for their actions that caused your damages?
Far too often, individuals are victims of medical negligence and they don’t fully understand their rights and what they can do following the situation. One thing that is often a point of confusion is the presence of never events, as well as understanding what they are and how to proceed after they happen.
Never events—though typically broken down into many different types of situations—are all essentially things that should never happen when a medical professional is caring for a patient. If these do happen, it can be considered serious with damaging injuries often being the result.
Here are some of the acts that may be considered never events and the damage they could potentially cause when they occur.
When Surgical Mistakes Occur
Surgical mistakes occur in a number of different fashions and for multiple reasons. There are also different parties who may be considered responsible when this type of problem occurs. Here are some common surgical mistakes that may occur and what you can expect moving forward.
- Surgery performed on a wrong body part: There may be instances in the healthcare facility when there are problems with the systems in place and communication may be lacking. Misdiagnosis can also be a problem as well, and the patient may have surgery performed on the wrong part of the body.
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient: Similar, when the hospital has problems with their systems and communication, medical records can get mixed up. This means a patient may undergo surgery when they didn’t have to because they were confused for another patient.
- Leaving an item inside of a patient: There are a number of items used during surgery including medical instruments, surgical equipment, and items to close and cover the wound, such as gauze. Unfortunately, these items can get misplaced if medical professionals are not careful and any items left inside the patient may be dangerous to other organs and the patient’s health.
These events should not happen and if a medical facility is properly ran and communication is present, they should be held accountable for any of the damages they cause.
Medical Product or Device Issues
Unfortunately, in the medical world, there are a number of different medical devices, products, medication, and more that may be needed to treat or help with patient procedures. The worst part is they are not always as safe as they should be and they can result in serious issues when there are problems with the product or device.
For instance, when someone needs a medical device such as a hip or knee replacement, and there are some issues, it can lead to the need for further issues. There may be product that causes an infection inside of the body that could lead to long-term health issues.
Some of the most dangerous products in the medical industry can be medication. For instance, if the drugs are contaminated, the wrong dosage is prescribed, or if the patient isn’t informed of dangerous cross-medication and it leads to death, this could be considered negligent and is a never event that is subject to legal action.
Problems Involving the Hospital Environment
In some cases, it may not be an individual medical professional who is negligent and causes significant harm. Instead, it could be the medical facility and all those responsible for ensuring that the environment is safe for any and all patients and visitors.
One of the potential environmental issues in the hospital can include oxygen lines that are contaminated with the wrong gas or when there is no gas at all. This can prove dangerous or even deadly to someone who relies on these oxygen lines.
If the patient needs restraints and the hospital staff uses them incorrectly, resulting in the death of the patient, this can be considered malpractice. The improper use of restraints that causes serious or fatal injuries is a never event.
Other environmental issues can be contaminated areas and exposure, potential burn injuries, and electrical shock from faulty wiring or defective products. Any injury caused by these can leave the patient dealing with the pain and suffering.
Errors In Patient Protection
When a patient is admitted into the hospital, it becomes the hospital responsibility to ensure that the patient is safe. However, protections may not be put in place and there are some situations that can leave the patient seriously injured or fatally injured.
One way that this happens is if the patient is not properly monitored and, while under the care of the hospital or medical facility, commits suicide. This is a never event as the patient should be properly watched and taken care of by the staff.
Some of the other potential patient protection mistakes may include if a patient leaves the hospital without anyone knowing and they are either hurt or killed, or if the hospital discharges the patient to someone who is not authorized for the release.
Management Errors In Medical Care
Even while the patient is waiting for a procedure or treatment to occur, they are under the care of the medical facility. The hospital must take proper care of the patient to ensure they are well taken care of during their entire time at the facility.
However, some management errors can occur, including the improper and unsafe administration of medication or blood products. When this is done, it can cause significant injuries or even death.
Some of the other issues that may occur include the following:
- Birth injuries occurring in a pregnancy that the doctor labeled as low-risk
- Incorrect artificial insemination with the wrong donor or egg
- Loss of a biological specimen
- Death or serious injury resulting from inadequate follow-up care
In some cases, a patient may be bed-ridden in the hospital and they require help to move in the bed or to the restroom. If they develop pressure ulcers as a result of an inadequate turn schedule or fall because the staff is negligent, this is considered a never event.
Why It’s Important to Have a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney
After any type of medical never event, the injured patient—or the family of the patient if they passed as a result of the malpractice—may be able to take legal action against the negligent party. This means navigating the complex legal matters to hold them accountable and seek compensation.
At Beam Legal Team, we have a firm understanding of how these cases are handled. We recognize the various forms of never events, as well as the harm they can cause in the long term. This means we have the skills, experience, and resources to build a strong case on your behalf.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers are committed to you and your family during your time of need. A medical never event is a difficult and traumatic experience to endure. Our team puts your best interests first so you can feel peace of mind moving throughout the process.
Call our firm today at (866) 766-3806 to discuss your potential case with our team in a free consultation. We’re here for you when you need us most.